My Week Unwrapped: January 29, 2019 – Alien Blackout, BACKFIRE, Maginary, Roterra, Beat Cop, Detective Gallo, Arithmagic, and More

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Hi everyone, and welcome to the latest installment of My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the iOS games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. It’s been quite a busy week, so there’s a lot to cover. Some are great, some are not so great, and some I haven’t played enough of to really judge. But if you’re looking for a new game to play, there’s a lot to choose from. So let’s get to it!

Alien: Blackout

I really wanted to like Alien: Blackout, and at first I did. But the more I played, the more annoyed and disappointed I got with it. Its strong points, like the voice acting and alien animations, are hard to enjoy when trying to guide up to four incredibly slow and stupid dots around a map on a timer. Instead of enjoying all the cinematic action, I was staring at those dots. I had a lot more to say in my review, though, so I’ll just let you read that. And if you want to see more of the game in action, I have some other gameplay videos here.

BACKFIRE

I’ve been staying vigilant with hardcore shooter BACKFIRE, and finally managed to defeat the evil spider queen! She’s the second of four bosses and the third chapter seems absolutely insane, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to complete it. But I’m still enjoying playing, so who knows — maybe I’ll get good enough to beat these crazy machines. Anyway, if you don’t mind a good challenging fast-paced game, I still highly recommend BACKFIRE. If I manage to get through more of it, I’ll likely write a proper review at some point.

Maginary

I already mentioned Device 6-inspired Maginary last week, but now I finished it. It’s not a terribly long game, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. The special effects are the more impressive, with words melting or flying or falling off the pages. It also has puzzles similar to those of Blackbox, asking you to utilize your iPhone’s features to solve them, such as blowing on your phone, plugging it in, increasing the brightness, as well as some others I didn’t even know were possible. The story is also well-written, putting the reader inside it. But I did find the last chapter a bit overcomplicated and convoluted. Even after reading it a second time, I found it hard to follow. I don’t think I’ll have time to properly review the game, but if you have any interest in interactive fiction, I think it’s worth at least trying the first two chapters to see how you like it. You can then unlock the other four chapters for $3.99. It took me a few hours to read through the whole thing, so there’s some meat on the bones. I just wish the conclusion spoke to me more. I’m still glad I played/read it and hope to see more from this developer. I also made a walkthrough guide here for the puzzles.

Roterra – Flip the Fairytale

Roterra isn’t out yet, but it releases in a day or two and is up for pre-order, so I figured I’d talk about it a bit. It’s a puzzle game that reminds me a lot of Monument Valley, as you guide a princess along paths, rotating blocks to complete the path when necessary. There are buttons to step on, which have different effects, like allowing a new block to rotate or moving blocks from one part of the map to another. Later you even control two different characters and have to use them to help each other out. The puzzles can get pretty darn tricky, and I’ve already sunk several hours into the game. My only real complaint at the moment is that the camera can be annoying sometimes. At first it wasn’t a problem, but as the puzzles got bigger and bigger, I found it showed too small an area at a time. I wish there was a way to control it somewhat so I wouldn’t have to walk my characters around just to see what’s on the map. Otherwise, I’m really enjoying the game and would highly recommend it to any puzzle fans. I’ll likely finish it and review it by release, but you can pre-order it now if you can’t wait.

Detective Gallo

I’ve only spent about a half hour with Detective Gallo, a point-and-click adventure starting a chicken private eye. Apparently some plants have been murdered and he has to find out who did it. It’s a hand-illustrated comic-noir adventure that’s fully voice acted, and I’m enjoying it so far. I just haven’t had much time to play due to all the other games that released recently. I also got stuck finding three notes needed to unlock a safe, and I couldn’t tell if it was something I needed to come back later for. Anyway, I hope to spend more time with it once I clear out some of my backlog. Until then, if you’re curious about the gameplay, check out my video below.

Beat Cop

Beat Cop is a sort of police simulator, but it’s not meant to be realistic so much as a realistic depiction of 80’s cop shows. You need to walk around and talk to people, give out traffic tickets, and decide whether to keep it straight or be seduced by money and corruption. The humor isn’t really my thing, so it’s not doing much for me. But it’s been translated well from PC to touchscreens. You can check out my video below to see if it’s something you might like.

Persephone

One of my favorite puzzle games of 2018, Persephone, just got a free content update called The Tale of Demeter. You control Demeter instead of Persephone, though so far their skills appear to be the same. These new levels are quite tricky, though, and I’m currently stuck on Level 8. I’m thrilled to have some new puzzles to work on, and the developers are even planning more free content to be released in a few months. If you haven’t played it yet, now’s a great time to do so. One of my few complaints about the game was that it wasn’t longer, so now that’s definitely not an issue. I do still wish it had an undo button, though, as it can get tedious restarting when you make a small mistake. Still, it’s worth the extra effort to play such a well-crafter puzzler.

Arithmagic – Math Game

In cleverly named Arithmagic, you play as a wizard who uses math to vanquish enemies. I haven’t gotten that far yet, as I’ve only played with addition and subtraction so far. But each monster has a certain number above them, either positive or negative, and you need to tap number cards to get them to zero. So if they have 15 HP, you need to, say, select -7 and -8. If they have -10 above them, you need to select 5 and 5. There are two modes — one where you can take as much time as you need to select cards, and one where you have a health meter and the enemies attack you if you take too long to defeat them. I found the relaxed mode a bit too easy, so I would suggest trying the regular mode first. My main issue with the game — besides it taking a bit long to show all its cards (pun intended) and therefore not really sucking me in — is that the controls are a bit clunky. You swipe a card to flip it from positive to negative, and you hold and drag a card to another to combine them. The holding before dragging is that feels very clunky. Still, it’s an interesting idea and it’s fully premium, without any ads or IAPs. So if it interests you, take a look at my gameplay video and see if it’s something you might like.

Laser Overload

I’m a big fan of laser reflecting puzzles, as I mentioned in my recent review of BLASK. So when I saw Laser Overload released this week, I figured I should give it a try. There’s nothing super offensive about it, really. The game is free with ads and then you unlock new levels using coins you earn or buy. He problem is, there are a lot of levels and so far they’ve been very easy. I would like to try out the more difficult content instead of playing all the filler to get there, but they cost a lot of coins and I refuse to spend money on them just to find out if they’re even worth playing. I probably would have spent a few bucks on the game to be able to access all the levels without the coins nonsense. But as is, I found it easier to just delete the game. But if you’re looking for a fairly pleasant puzzler and the slow difficulty ramp doesn’t bother you, then download it and give it a try.

Go Zero

Look at that! We have two math games in one week! Mana Wind’s endless high score chaser, Go Zero, isn’t actually out yet or available for pre-order, but it releases in just a few days on February 1st. It’s free with ads and IAPs, but one of the IAPs removes all ads and gives you unlimited lives. That’s what the developer gave me, and it seems to make the game fully premium. The game takes place on a grid, similar to that of Threes!, but instead of swiping to move the whole board, you swipe only the tile you want to move. The idea is to combine positive and negative numbers to get zero. The higher the numbers you combine, the more points you get. It’s broken up into different worlds that each add new mechanics, and you unlock new worlds by reaching certain scores in the earlier ones. I actually really like the concept and could see playing it a fair bit…except for the timer. It’s the kind of game I’d like to be able to calmly think and plan out my moves, but you’re on a 3-minute timer. You gain more time when you level up, but it still stresses me out. I wish there was an option to play without it, as that’s the main thing keeping me from sticking with it at the moment. Still, I recommend giving it a try when it releases, as maybe the timer won’t bother you as much. I don’t have a download link yet, but you can watch my gameplay video below.

And that’s everything I’ve been playing this past week! I’m probably going to go collapse now, since my cat has been waking me at 4am ever since she started taking steroids that increase her appetite. So I guess I should actually be asleep already if I wanted to get more than five hours! Tomorrow I’ll hopefully finish Roterra and work on my review, as well as try to make more progress in BACKFIRE. Keep an eye out for videos for other games releasing this week, as well. Besides that, I’ll see you back here next time for more of My Week Unwrapped!

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